Monday 08/09/2021 by phishnet

DEER CREEK 3 RECAP: MOST EVENTS AREN'T PLANNED---SILLY PHISH IS HAPPY PHISH

[Thank you Dianna Hank for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

Going into this weekend, I had a crew of four, maybe five, folks from my immediate Phish group making the pilgrimage to the infamous Deer Creek for Sunday night’s (hopeful) scorcher of a show. Seeing as I live in Las Vegas now, you might be wondering why I was only going to be attending the last of the three night run in the middle of Indiana, so far from home. And the answer to that question is that I was lucky enough to be invited to my dear friends Lauren Amster & Angus Abrams’ wedding in Chicago this past Saturday night! Conveniently enough, Chicago is a mere three hour drive (+ the 1 hour time zone change) from Ruoff, so once tour was announced and some of us realized we’d be “in the area” during this run, we decided to try to make it work. The best part of all of this is the fact that I met the bride though Phish friends many years ago, so a good chunk of our Phish-going crew was going to be in attendance for this event. Like I said earlier, going into the weekend, we only had four, maybe five confirmed for the show. Yet slowly but surely, people kept giving in to temptation, changing flights, booking hotels, securing tickets and suddenly, our meager crew was starting to take some solid shape! We even had three additions at the morning-after brunch on Sunday AM! So after saying our goodbyes to the bride and groom, we hit the road and gunned it to the land of the corn.

© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

We arrived to lot around 4 PM, after picking up some questionable fast food on the way in, and immediately started to settle into our preshow groove. Beers were consumed, friends and acquaintances were run into, and as the time drew nearer, we started to make our way over to Shakedown. I regret not being able to have spent more time perusing the vendors, but it was crowded, and I’m still not feeling 100% being in large swaths of humans like that, no matter if I’m wearing a mask or not. We maneuvered our way through the chaos and in we went! We settled in a nice spot on the back of the lawn, to the right of the party deck, and awaited the return of our heroes to the stage.

The hot Midwest sun was still high in the sky when the band took the stage to open the show with the somewhat controversial “Sigma Oasis.” While definitely one of the better new songs, the lyrics encouraging folks to “take off, take off, take off your masks” and suggesting “the fear’s an illusion, so don’t even ask” might find a better time and place than in the current situation we all find ourselves in right now. That being said, “Sigma Oasis” gave way to “The Curtain,” which is a perfect soundtrack to a warm, setting sun. Instead of finishing with “With,” the band lit into “Mike’s Song,” sending the audience into an immediate frenzy. The last time “The Curtain” went into “Mike’s Song” was 11/23/96 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And this “Mike’s Song” was no ordinary “Mike’s Song,” either.

This jam was relentless and unique, definitely a highlight of the night. Interestingly enough, “My Soul” took what is usually “I Am Hydrogen's" place, affirming that this show would indeed not be like many others. With hijinks like this happening so early on in the show, fans could already tell that we were going to be in for a wild ride of a night. “My Soul” kept the energy high before coming to a dead stop, from which “Weekapaug Groove” poked its head out, Mike Gordon wasted no time attacking this one and driving it to a head.

“Mercury” came next, beautifully reminding us that “the net’s unbreakable, so don’t worry about falling,” in a time in which so many of us needed to hear those words. “Mercury” gave way to “46 Days,” always a scorcher, and then a cleanly-played version of “Taste.” Following “Taste” was a new Mike song called “Casual Enlightenment.” While the lyrics and/or vocals didn’t really do it for me, the sultry jam that emerged out of it was another story. Keeping with the dark and dirty theme of the set, a ripping “David Bowie” closed the 1st set, and ensured everyone was feeling extra weird during setbreak.

© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

Bathtub Gin” opened the 2nd set for the first time since November 30th, 2019, and set the stage for the rest of the insanity which was about to ensue. While not in the same league as some of the other behemoth jams Phish has produced thus far this tour, this “Gin” got a lot done in the time it was here, and is definitely worth a relisten. “Waves” came next, delicately and deliberately delighting dancers before Trey decided he was done with it and it was time for “Ghost!”

The segue into this “Ghost” is absolutely seamless, sending the crowd into a massive frenzy once again. The sped-up tempo also gave it an interestingly unique feel, however this groove was short lived, as only one minute and forty eight seconds after “Ghost” had begun, it’s time was ended as “Sally” made her grand entrance into the evening. “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” appeared out of seemingly nowhere and immediately took the spotlight, as folks began to throw down and really start feeling this set. The silliness really started here, as Trey teased “Ghost,” then began to sing “I feel I’ve never told you the story of Sally.” Fish realized all bets were off, and went wild with the samples before an awkward turn into “Twenty Years Later.” This tune felt like a bit of an energy sink after that ripping “Sally," and the subsequent segue into “Waste,” while buttery smooth, felt like we were beginning to slide down a slippery slope that might not be great for the set as a whole. Luckily, after a fiery “Waste” outro solo, Trey chose “Twist” to follow, which was really the beginning of the end if you were trying to keep any semblance of legible or coherent setlist notes for the evening.

A short and sultry “Twist” turned into “Makisupa Policeman” which featured “Twist” teases, Trey exclaiming, “Woke up this morning, Sally in my bed…” and a whole slew of other nonsense, including recitation of the names of other songs played that set, quotes of lyrics, and a bunch of other ridiculousness. “Martian Monster” followed, very “Twist”-y at first but then just getting really dark and dirty. Serious moments of jamming like that really kind of even out the foolishness of immediately before it. Silly Phish is happy Phish so when they’re allowed to play around and not take themselves too seriously, they’re going to end up producing a lot of really awesome stuff. You could tell the band was super relaxed and at ease last night, just having a good time playing music with their friends. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

“Martian Monster” turned back into “Twist” for a minute before Page was given the spotlight for his “Most Events Aren’t Planned,” the motto of the weekend for my crew. This jam gets out there before another well-executed segue into “More.” This joyous celebration of life was the perfect cap on a set of silly shenanigans, not done before Trey went back into “Bathtub Gin” one more time, for good measure, yelling “The story of SALLY!” before exiting the stage.

© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

The goofiness continued throughout the encore as “Contact” -- arguably Phish’s most playful ditty -- took the first slot. As I mentioned earlier, though, all of this buffoonery is expertly evened out with serious, meaningful Phish: which is exactly why “Slave” was the only option to close out the show and the weekend. Unlike the Arkansas “Slave” jam that Fishman arguably ruined with his samples this one was as exquisite, cathartic and divine as “Slave” jams are meant to be, and it left everyone who hadn’t left during “Contact” with a massive smile on their face, from ear to ear, knowing that our band is the best band, that it’s fun to be a part of inside jokes, and that sometimes we have to learn to not take ourselves too seriously if we’re going to get out of this thing called life in one piece.

As the lights came up on Deer Creek and I watched groups of friends hugging each other, saying their goodbyes, and asking when they’ll be seeing each other again, I felt a massive sense of gratitude that our band is playing so well right now, and that there are still so many shows on the calendar for the rest of this year. We are all so very, very lucky. Looking forward to seeing what they’ve got in store for Hershey!

© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2021 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

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Comments

, comment by Sleemore
Sleemore Nice recap. I have a different take on Sigma Oasis being played. Given the song was first played before the pandemic, I think their playing it gives the audience credit for understanding the tune isn't literal in regards to the current situation. If people are taking public health direction from their favorite band's lyrics, I think that's on them. Also, I had a blast last night. Silly Phish is part of the Phish DNA, it's a muscle that has to be exercised for the whole to prosper. Glad I was there for it!
, comment by DrJerryPunchYITE
DrJerryPunchYITE Thanks for the review i was in attendance Saturday and Sunday.
The first set was great because they played songs in unusual spots which has been refreshing this tour.
Weekapaug was interesting in that trey started randomly strumming the opening notes and mike gave a look of what the hell is going on here!
The composed sections of taste and bowie were butchered by trey but he had really nice solos ( treys new Doc sounds incredibly rich in person. Finally less screeching and tin like). Set 2 started off with an above average Gin which has had a nice resurgence possibly beginning with Ascend 18 > waves that had a beautiful trey solo. I have to politely disagree that it was a great segue into ghost though.
It seemed very jarring at the time and seemed to catch the other 3 off guard.
The rest of the set was interesting and became more enjoyable when I let down my preconceived wants.
I'd rather have taken a few deep, unique jams considering they're really pushing new territory this tour but the phish gods had other ideas.
I'm grateful that I was able to see one of these hijinx shows and it was fun to witness and see the guys smiling. Watching 20k wave their arms during contact was special and Slave was just the cathartic ending that I (and I presume) and many others needed.
Thank you phish for continuing to create wonderful art almost 40 years in and to the fellow phans who were in attendance. I could sense gratitude and happiness from all.
, comment by Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe Fun Sunday show at Deer Creek and a very different experience from the previous two nights. One of the more interesting Mike’s Songs I’ve seen in recent memory, made especially noteworthy given its placement in the show—early first set.

First segue-fest style show I’ve caught so that was exciting. I tend to go hoping for deep jams but Friday had plenty and I was with a giant group Sunday so the goofy party atmosphere was quite welcome.

After 135 shows I FINALLY caught Makisupa Policeman for the second time since my very first show—which coincidentally was the last time Phish played three nights at Deer Creek, 18 years prior on 7/23/03. Seemed very fitting.

Nice fun cap to an amazing weekend with friends and my favorite band. The tonal palette this tour has been on point, with Trey’s new amp in particular providing a cleaner tone than we’ve heard in years, and page laying down dark synth textures. Really what’s been getting me since the first show back is Trey’s dexterity. I haven’t heard him this nimble for ages and it’s taking the music to new heights. Ready for Hershey and AC!
, comment by mgolia6
mgolia6 Thanks for the review, Dianna. Enjoyed your perspective. I didn’t find My Soul, jetting out of Mike’s that odd. Don’t know I’d label that as hijinx, but that’s my opinion. The band seems to consciously be looking for other Mike’s Groove pairings and My Soul, following up that fast acting type 2 saunter that Mike’s took, was the perfect choice. I could be way off but I thought Trey was possibly trying to start Runaway Jim prior to Weekapaug and that’s now two times where they went full stop prior to Paug.

I wanted to highlight the fact that Trey has been taking some major artistic license with lyrical cadence this tour. This is totally welcome and adds a luster to many vintage tracks. This has been happening in every show and speaks to the relaxed nature of things on stage.

On that note, from the couch, it appeared that the rest of the band was caught a little off guard by TreyDHD during that second set. The screeching turns, those that never really let any jam come to a complete thought, the same antics that made this show a unique experience, were happening so quickly that my wife turned to me and asked if there was really any way the rest of the band could keep up the pace or even try to Anticipate a potential next move. And yet, as this band does, they got into it, even trying to take the reigns away from Trey at times, but he wasn’t letting go so easily.

Why I think the show (and second set) worked best was the fact that, though there were elements that ran as a thematic current throughout the weekend, each show brought very different perspectives of the musical depths of such an amazing band. With Sunday Funday at its finest now behind us, and this tour really beginning to take shape as one for the ages, we are in the absolutely best position one could be in…that is, you truly never know what is going to happen when this band takes the stage!

Mahalo Nui,
Matthew
, comment by DrJerryPunchYITE
DrJerryPunchYITE @mgolia6 said:
Thanks for the review, Dianna. Enjoyed your perspective. I didn’t find My Soul, jetting out of Mike’s that odd. Don’t know I’d label that as hijinx, but that’s my opinion. The band seems to consciously be looking for other Mike’s Groove pairings and My Soul, following up that fast acting type 2 saunter that Mike’s took, was the perfect choice. I could be way off but I thought Trey was possibly trying to start Runaway Jim prior to Weekapaug and that’s now two times where they went full stop prior to Paug.

I wanted to highlight the fact that Trey has been taking some major artistic license with lyrical cadence this tour. This is totally welcome and adds a luster to many vintage tracks. This has been happening in every show and speaks to the relaxed nature of things on stage.

On that note, from the couch, it appeared that the rest of the band was caught a little off guard by TreyDHD during that second set. The screeching turns, those that never really let any jam come to a complete thought, the same antics that made this show a unique experience, were happening so quickly that my wife turned to me and asked if there was really any way the rest of the band could keep up the pace or even try to Anticipate a potential next move. And yet, as this band does, they got into it, even trying to take the reigns away from Trey at times, but he wasn’t letting go so easily.

Why I think the show (and second set) worked best was the fact that, though there were elements that ran as a thematic current throughout the weekend, each show brought very different perspectives of the musical depths of such an amazing band. With Sunday Funday at its finest now behind us, and this tour really beginning to take shape as one for the ages, we are in the absolutely best position one could be in…that is, you truly never know what is going to happen when this band takes the stage!

Mahalo Nui,
Matthew
I like your perspective and appreciate reading your reviews.
The hijinks I was referring to was the 2nd set mash up ala 7.27.14.
Just relistened and should say that Treys solo in Waves perfectly personify his playing this tour.
It oozed with confidence and he sounds great
, comment by schwitze
schwitze @Sleemore said:
Nice recap. I have a different take on Sigma Oasis being played. Given the song was first played before the pandemic, I think their playing it gives the audience credit for understanding the tune isn't literal in regards to the current situation. If people are taking public health direction from their favorite band's lyrics, I think that's on them. Also, I had a blast last night. Silly Phish is part of the Phish DNA, it's a muscle that has to be exercised for the whole to prosper. Glad I was there for it!
Having been there the first time they played Sigma Oasis and hearing the response from the crowd on the”take off your mask” line, I would disagree.
, comment by Offshoredrilling
Offshoredrilling Sad to say I could not disagree with you more about Sigma Oasis being a controversial song. While everyone is entitled to an option, yours there is dead wrong. So it was tough to take the rest of the review seriously. But it wasn’t good.
, comment by Culture_Czar
Culture_Czar Oddly enough, I too was able to catch the Sunday show of the run because of being in Chicago for a wedding that weekend!
, comment by Boogieman13
Boogieman13 Eventually I realized if I kept trying to write the 2nd set down I would have no time to get down. There was a point where I just wrote "All of the Above Jam" and put my set list book back in my pocket.
That set will go down as one of my favorites ever!!!
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